Jordan Hawkins scored 20 points as No. 18 UConn led most of the way in an 95-86 victory against host St. John’s on Saturday afternoon in New York City.
In front of a large crowd at Madison Square Garden, the Huskies (22-7, 11-7 Big East) pulled within a half-game of fourth-place Creighton, which lost at Villanova.
Hawkins, who scored 31 in the first meeting, scored at least 20 for the third straight game and seventh time in nine games to help UConn avoid its first season sweep by the Red Storm since the 1999-2000 season. Hawkins was an inefficient 6 of 18 but hit four of UConn’s nine 3-pointers.
Adama Sanogo added 18 and nine rebounds as the Huskies led for the final 36:18, shot 46.9 percent and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds. Sanogo also sank eight of UConn’s 26 free throws.
Andre Jackson Jr. and Joey Calcaterra chipped in 15 apiece as the Huskies won for the sixth time in seven games.
A.J. Storr scored 20 points but the Red Storm (17-13, 7-12) allowed at least 90 points for the fourth time this season. Posh Alexander added 18, David Jones contributed 15 while Joel Soriano notched his 22nd double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 3:02 remaining.
Calcaterra’s 3 opened a 39-27 lead with 4:59 left in the first half. He hit another 3 for a 50-35 lead with 85 seconds left and UConn held a 50-41 lead by halftime after Alexander hit a 3 in the final seconds for St. John’s.
Donovan Clingan’s dunk opened a 62-45 lead with 13:32 left and UConn did enough after a basket by Jones made it 66-57 with 9:47 remaining. The Huskies opened an 83-68 lead on Jackson’s corner trey with 5:04 left and extended the lead to 90-74 on his alley-oop dunk with 2:24 to go.
–Field Level Media